Kennard hosts Juneteenth celebration
CENTREVILLE — A Juneteenth celebration marking the official ending of slavery in the U.S. and in appreciation of the freedoms that followed was held Saturday, June 17, was held at the Kennard High School African American Cultural Heritage Center in Centreville. Juneteenth celebrations have taken place all across the U.S. for many years, marking the official ending of slavey, which took place in Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865. U.S. Army General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston announcing the emancipation of enslaved Texans. This took place almost two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln.
The first such local celebration was held in Grasonville more than 20 years ago, organized by Batts Neck resident Sharon Robinson of Stevensville. It was hosted in 1992 at the Grasonville Community Center. This year marked the second local celebration, held this time at the recently restored school building. It was organized by Robinson, Deborah Brown and Kia Reed.
The renovated Kennard building was re-opened last fall. Though the major work of restoration is complete, the museum portion of the building is still a work in progress. Clayton Washington, president of the Kennard High School Alumni Association, has been instrumental in the progress of the former Kennard High School building.
Washington told the audience on Saturday, “The history of this building is about all of us, all the people who live and have lived in Queen Anne’s County. If you have items, pictures, whatever could be added to the museum here to enrich the story of all of us, we welcome your donations.”
The afternoon was dedicated to African American education, culture, art, history and achievement. There were hymns sung by several groups, especially children’s youth choirs, African American foods, poetry read, talks, and an engaging re-enactment of Harriet Tubman done by Moonyene Jackson of Easton with children from the audience.
Several new displays were in the upstairs portion of the Kennard building, one a detailed exhibit of African American waterman of the Chesapeake Bay who have lived and still live in Queen Anne’s County. Posters of several local watermen, Captains George Roy of Stevensville, Herman Meredith and Warren Butler, both of Grasonville, were prominently displayed.
Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson was present at the beginning of the program on Saturday and read a detailed proclamation about the importance of the Juneteenth celebration taking place in Centreville.
He said, “This Juneteenth celebration is not only an African American milestone in our nation but an opportunity to educate and dialogue with all citizens and reflect on our shared history in Queen Anne’s County.”
The proclamation was signed by all five of the county commissioners.
Area children listen to the words of Harriett Tubman re-enactor Moonyene Jackson, of Easton, in a special presentation, Saturday, June 17, during the Juneteenth celebration at the Kennard Heritage Center.
Wearing African-American styles, these models participate in a fashion show during the Juneteenth celebration at the Kennard Heritage Center in Centreville, Saturday, June 17. From the left, Zakiya Grigsby of Bridgeville, Del., Neisha Lewis of Baltimore, Ty Sullivan of Laurel, Del., designer Sherilla Cox of Seaford, Del., Shamaka Thompson of Takoma Park, and make-up artist Diane Washington of Brandywine.
Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson, left, presents the proclamation he read Saturday, June 17, in recognition of the Juneteenth celebration of the last slaves in the U.S. to be freed, June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, almost two and half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, to Kennard High School Alumini Association President Clayton Washington. The proclamation reading began the festivities of the Juneteenth celebration on Saturday at Kennard, stressing the joys and values of freedom and community.
One of the ever growing displays inside the Kennard Heritage Center, this display recognizes the contributions of AfricanAmerican waterman, many from Queen Anne’s County.
Members of the Bryans Youth Choir sang several hymns during the Juneteenth Celebration, Saturday, June 17, at the Kennard Heritage Center. Pictured, from the left, Micheala Thomas, Marshay Hines, MacKenzie Hines, Ashley Hines, Mariah Townsend and Faith Brooks.
Moonyene Jackson of Easton portrays Harriett Tubman during the Juneteenth celebration Saturday, June 17, at the Kennard Heritage Center in Centreville.